We believe that we have showed from Scripture in previous articles that the different covenants mentioned in Scripture are not separate covenants, but different revelations of the one everlasting covenant of God. In this last article on the doctrine of the covenant we wish to summarize what we have written in previous articles, listing the different covenants and what each of them shows as a revelation of that one covenant.
(1) The first revelation of the covenant was to Adam in paradise. That covenant might be called The Covenant of Life, since it revealed the essential character of the covenant. It showed what the covenant was, revealed God as the sovereign Lord of the covenant and clearly delineated man's place in the covenant (cf. Gen. 1-2 and Hos. 6:7).
(2) The second great revelation of the covenant was to Adam after the fall. That covenant could be called The Covenant of Promise. It revealed God as the faithful covenant-keeping God who maintains His covenant with His people by the power of sovereign, redemptive grace (cf. Gen. 3, esp. vs. 15). In it Christ is revealed as the promised Seed and the great Sacrifice (Gen. 3:15, 21).
(3) The third important revelation was to Noah. The covenant is best remembered as the Covenant of Creation. In it God revealed the universal character of His covenant (not all men, but all creatures) (cf. Gen. 9:1-17). In it Christ is revealed as Reconciler and Lord of all (Gen. 9:15, 16, Col. 1:20).
(4) The fourth revelation was to Abraham. That covenant could well be called The Covenant of Families, since it showed more clearly than ever before that God's covenant is very much a family covenant (cf. Gen. 15 & 17). Here Christ is revealed as the Elect and the one in whom all God's people are chosen and called (Rom. 9:6-13).
(5) The fifth great revelation was to Israel. Since the giving of the law was the main feature of that revelation, that covenant should be called The Covenant of Law. In it God revealed that law and covenant are not opposed, but belong together (cf. Ex. 19-20 and Gal. 3-4). Here we see Christ as Mediator (Gal. 3:24).
(6) The sixth and last revelation in the OT was that to David, and might well be remembered as The Covenant of the Kingdom. In it God revealed especially the orderly structure of His covenant (cf. II Sam. 7 and Ps. 89). In this revelation Christ is shown to be the Sovereign Head and Lord of the Covenant.
(7) The whole NT itself is called in Scripture, The New Covenant. It is this, not in the sense of an entirely different covenant, but that it involves a revelation of the covenant that is no longer made through types and shadows, but through the realities to which those types pointed (cf. Heb. 8). Here finally Christ comes with all His blessings and fulfils the types and shadows.
(8) Finally, we wait yet for the day when the covenant will be realized in all its fullness - when the tabernacle of God will be with men, when He will dwell with them and be with them as their God, and they shall be His people (Rev. 21:3).
- Volume: 9
- Issue: 6
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address317 North Park St.
State or ProvinceWA